Allen Xiao

Position title: Ph.D.


Advisor: Bob Kaiser, Matt Turner


M.Phil., Anthropology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
B.Sc., Business Administration (Major in Tourism Management), Sun Yat-sen University, China;
B.A., Anthropology, Sun Yat-sen University, China


African urbanism, identity & subjectivity, mobility & transportation, ethnicity & immigration, and Asia-Africa encounters


Becoming a Lagosian? An Ethnography of Urban Identification


Teaching Fellow (2021-22), “Asia-Africa Encounters”, Institute for Regional and International Studies

Lecturer “People, Land and Food”: Summer 2020

Co-instructor “Mobility and the Future City”: Spring 2020

Teaching Assistant “Introduction to International Studies”: Fall 2014, 2015, 2016, 2019

Teaching Assistant “Civilizations in India” (Online): Spring 2017; Spring 2018

Teaching Assistant “Introduction to Human Geography”: Fall 2017

Teaching Assistant “World Regions in Global Contexts” (Online): Fall 2018; Spring 19


Peer-reviewed Publications:

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2022. The Belt and Road Initiative and Chinese Overseas Diplomatic Authorities: Discursive Representations and the Geopolitical Outreach in Africa. The Professional Geographer. [AAG-PGSG paper prize]

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2022. The Congested City and Situated Social Inequality: Making Sense of Urban (Im)mobilities in Lagos, Nigeria. Geoforum. 136: 312-320

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2021. Becoming…in Lagos: A Time-narration Approach to City-identification in an African Metropolis. Urban Geography. 42 (10): 1480-1499.

Xiao, Allen Hai and Zheyuan Deng. 2021. The Religious Encounters of the New African Diaspora in China and Malaysia: An Exploratory Study of Migratory Subjectivity and Ideological Mobility. Journal for the Academic Study of Religion. 34 (3): 340-363.

Xiao, Allen Hai and Sunday A. Ogunode. 2021. Oka Day as an Institution of Power: Kingship, Chieftaincy, and the Community Day in Contemporary Yorubaland. Africa: Journal of the International African Institute. 91(5): 790-809.

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2021. Lagos in Life: Placing Cities in Lived Experiences. Journal of Modern African Studies. 59 (3): 391-412. [2020 ASA paper prize]

Xiao, Allen Hai and Shaonan Liu. 2021. “The Chinese” in Nigeria: Discursive Ethnicities and (Dis)embedded Experiences. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. 50(3): 368-394.

Xiao, Allen Hai and Kudus Adebayo. 2020. Cohabiting Commerce in a Transport Hub: Peoples as Infrastructure in Lagos, Nigeria. Urban Studies. 57(12): 2510-2526.

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2019. “Oyinbo, Wole!”: Urban Rhythms and Mobile Encounters in the Lagos Transport Systems. Urban Forum 30(2): 133-151.

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2018. Interfered Rhythms, Navigating Mobilities: Chinese Migrants on the Roads in Lagos. In Daniel E. Agbiboa, ed. Transport, Transgression and Politics in African Cities: The Rhythm of Chaos. PP. 111-130. Routledge. [AAG-UGSG paper prize]

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2017. Exploring Social Interactions between Chinese Immigrants and Corruption in Nigeria. In A. Adeniran and L. Ikuteyijo, eds. Africa Now!: Emerging Issues and Alternative Perspectives, pp. 189-210, Palgrave MacMillan.

Deng, Grazia Ting and Allen Hai Xiao. 2016. Aspiring to Motility: Chinese Petty Entrepreneurs in Italy. In Valentina Pedone and Ikuko Sagiyama, eds., Transcending Borders, pp. 3-25, Firenze University Press.

Xiao, Allen Hai. 2015. In the Shadow of the States: The Informalities of Chinese Petty Entrepreneurship in Nigeria. Journal of Current Chinese Affairs 44(1): 75-105.

Lan, Shanshan and Allen Hai Xiao. 2014. Mobilités transfrontalières et réseaux transculturels de petits entrepreneurs chinois et nigérians (Trans-border mobility and cross-cultural business networking among Chinese and Nigerian petty entrepreneurs). Politique Africaine 134:45-67.


2022. Olmstead Award for outstanding publication, Department of Geography, UW-Madison

2022. PhD Student Paper Prize, Political Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers

2021. Graduate Student Paper Prize, Urban Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers

2021. Whitbeck Graduate Dissertator Award, Department of Geography, UW-Madison

2020. Graduate Student Paper Prize, African Studies Association (Interview Link)

2020. Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (Interview Link)

2019. Mellon-Wisconsin Fellowship, Graduate School, UW-Madison

2018. Student Research Travel Grant, Graduate School, UW-Madison

2017. Trewartha Research Award, Department of Geography, UW-Madison

2016. Scott Kloeck-Jenson Fellowship, Institute for Regional and International Studies, UW-Madison

2015. “Linking China and Nigeria Online: ICT Use, Social Relationships and Transnational Petty Entrepreneurship”, First prize of Stan Brunn Student Paper Award from Communication Geography Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers

2015. “Mapping Social Interactions between Chinese Migrants and Nigerians on the Roads in Lagos.” The Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa (ASMEA) Research Grant

2015. Royal Air Maroc-ASA Student Travel Award, African Studies Association


Convener, BORGHESI-MELLON WORKSHOPS (2015-2016), Post-colonial Consciousness: Representations of China in Africa (Guest Lectures given by Yoon Jung Park, Howard French, Lesley Nicole Braun, May Tan-Mullins, Marie-Helene Koffi-Tessio, Laura M. Tilghman, David H. Shinn, Elisha Renne, Deborah Bräutigam)

Field Story (2015): Being an Òyìnbó in Yorùbáland